SILVERSTONE, UK - Agence France-Presse
Australian MotoGP rider Casey Stoner is set to make his final Silverstone appearance at a rain-soaked British Grand Prix. Defending champion calls Silverstone as one of his ‘favorite tracks’ and looks to improve from a fourth finish at the Catalunya GP
World motorcycling champion Australian Casey Stoner has previously said that he would retire from the MotoGP at the end of this season. Stoner will race under an expected heavy rain at Silverstone. AFP Photo
Defending world champion Casey Stoner is aiming to reel in championship leader Jorge Lorenzo by landing back-to-back wins at the British Grand Prix on June 17.
The Australian triumphed at a soggy Silverstone 12 months ago en route to the title and with conditions once again expected to be wet the stage is set for another spectacular leg of the MotoGP season.
Stoner, in his Silverstone swansong, came fourth last time out in Catalunya to leave the Honda star 20 points adrift of Lorenzo in the riders’ standings.
“Silverstone’s been one of my favorite tracks since I’ve raced here in the British championship,” said Stoner, who shocked the MotoGP world at Le Mans when announcing his intention to retire at the end of the season.
He added: “Unfortunately we don’t go through the old section of the track. It was one of my favourite corners in the world. But I’m looking forward to getting back out there again.” Despite similar conditions in store from last year he is not optimistic of running away with the race as he did 12 months ago.Lorenzo admits rejecting offer from Honda
“We’ve struggled more this year with the 1000cc (in the wet). We can’t get the bike to give us quite enough front feeling in the wet, mainly on corner entry. On the exit everything seems quite good.”
Lorenzo, who won his third race of the year in Spain this month, arrived at Silverstone having signed a new contract with Yamaha keeping him with the Japanese team until 2014 to end speculation of a move to Honda.
The Spaniard admitted that he had indeed turned down an offer to replace Stoner for 2013.
Lorenzo joked at a press conference at the track on Thursday: “I waited that he (Stoner) might change his opinion and came back to Honda for another year. So I left the place open to Casey.” Lorenzo crashed out of last year’s race but won in 2010: “In 2010 I enjoyed riding here a lot. I felt very comfortable from the beginning. This track gives me the best facility to go fast. But the opposite happened last year when I crashed trying to catch Casey in the rain.”
Cal Crutchlow is out to give the home fans something to cheer about under their umbrellas as the British rider seeks to continue his good season and add to his 56 points which see him placed fifth in the overall standings.Home favorite
The Yamaha rider, who missed Silverstone 12 months ago with injury, said: “It’s nice to come here in not so bad form. The worst finish we’ve had this year is an eighth in Le Mans after crashing. Last year I would have bought an eighth place, so we’re not coming into this too bad.
“We’ve been battling near the podium, albeit not so close to the front all the time. It’s nice to come back to the British GP, and hopefully I’ll make the grid this time.”
The Brit has also recovered from a heavy crash in the Barcelona test: “I’m a little bit sore still. I struggled to breathe the week after; I think it was just the bruising and a bit of swelling. I have resumed training as usual, and I should be alright.”